My dog knows he's done wrong

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No he doesn’t!

He has no idea!

All he knows is that you are cross and he has not got a clue why!

So he runs through a series of appeasing behaviours to show that he’s no threat. This may include lowered head, looking away, lowered body posture, creeping, slinking away, screwing up his eyes and grinning, licking his lips, yawning, walking in slow motion silently, licking you, jumping on you, nudging you, burying his head in you. A young puppy can even lose bladder or bowel control in his distress.

All the while you are wagging your finger, shouting or yelling - or worse (as anyone who had a vicious headmistress like I did will know!) going very, very, still and quiet and saying “What. Do. You. Think. You’re. Doing?”

He doesn’t know. Really. He’s a dog.

Dog Body Language

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Dogs express themselves largely through their body language. While most people see nothing - just a dog - it’s in fact a sophisticated language which is very clear, once you learn it.

As a dog-owner it’s your duty to learn Dog Body Language!

You wouldn’t adopt a child from another country and refuse to listen to anything she said until she could express herself fluently in your language. It’s such nonsense when you look at it like that!

So know that you have to observe your dog, look out for every ear-twitch, every sideways glance - what’s his head doing? what’s his movement telling me?

There are some good resources online for learning these movements. Here’s a good one from the amazing artist Lili Chin, of the Body Language of Fear in Dogs

Dogs don’t “look guilty” - learn their language and communicate better with your pet!  | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #puppytraining, #dogbodylanguage | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Do you recognise some of these from your own dog? Start looking! You’ll see them all, in time …

So why does he look so “guilty”?

All this is telling you that telling your dog off and assuming that because he slinks or cowers or looks away, he understands what you’re on about, is mistaken! (That’s polite-speak for WRONG!)

Dogs don’t “look guilty”, or “know they’ve done wrong”. Something a few correspondents have been trying to tell me this week.

Those awful videos that get circulated online - of dogs “looking guilty” - are horrible. Anyone who actually understands dogs knows that the dog is deeply unhappy and distressed by the hostility her owner is demonstrating. Having no idea of the cause, all she can do is grovel. Setting these situations up and videoing them is cruelty, no less.

What can you do instead when something you don’t like has happened?

The first thing to do is to look at why the thing happened. And very often you’ll find the finger is pointing at … yourself!

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◆   Who left the dog alone with the kitchen waste bin?

◆   Who left the door open so that your curious dog went out through it?

◆   Who failed to follow a force-free housetraining program and now has a confused dog who doesn’t know where to relieve herself?

◆   Who left valuable yet chewable items within reach of a puppy who has as yet no boundaries?

So if you come home to find a mess, just clear it up quietly, while resolving to change your own habits so that it can’t happen again.

Our dogs have it hard enough living in our strange world without being told off for breaking rules they didn’t know existed! If you follow this path, you’ll have a hard time ever gaining her trust.

My dog knows when he's done wrong

 

My dog doesn’t need a muzzle

Pin Lazy Muzzle.png

Oh yes. He does!

All dogs need to be familiar with a muzzle and accept it without demur. There are lots of reasons for this - safety round other dogs, keeping other dog-owners away, scavenging and picking up stones and slugs, for treatment at the vets - the list goes on.

I think a lot of the antipathy to muzzles is because of some wrong thinking. People think that if a dog is muzzled it is dangerous. In fact, it’s the safest dog around! His armoury is all behind closed doors.

But people seldom think this through. That doesn’t matter when we’re talking about other people. But when we’re talking about you, the owner, it does matter!

Why do owners resist teaching their dog to wear a muzzle, and why should they anyway?

I go into detail on this subject in my post at https://www.brilliantfamilydog.com/blog/should-my-dog-wear-a-muzzle

So here I want to focus on the most depressing thing I see.

Greyhounds

I know personally of two gruesome cases where unmuzzled greyhounds attacked a small pet dog. In one case a beloved puppy was ripped to pieces in front of his family. In the other case a small dog was almost pulled apart by two unmuzzled greyhounds but rescued by brave passers-by. It took many months of care from her vet and her distraught owner for her physical wounds to heal, and her PTSD-type memories are still needing work, years later.

It’s fashionable for people to adopt ex-racing greyhounds. These dogs are usually spent by about 3-5 years of age (if successful) and earlier if they were not winning.

Sighthounds are naturally quiet and biddable most of the time. They can make great pets in the home. They like to sleep 23 hours a day,  wake up for a bit of food then go back to sleep.

But you have to remember:

 

These dogs are killing machines

Now before you throw up your hands in horror and stuff my inbox with complaints, think about what they have experienced all their lives. They have been trained to chase down anything small, fluffy, or fast-moving, and kill it. That’s what they’re bred for, and that’s what they are encouraged to do.

They are muzzled from an early age, usually with comfortable, light, racing muzzles that allow them to pant freely and drink.

In some countries, greyhounds must be kept on lead at all times in public, and the number of greyhounds led at a time is limited. In some countries also, greyhounds need to be muzzled at all times.

To be fair, some of the greyhound adoption agencies recommend that at least to start with your ex-racer should be muzzled in public, though it’s not the law in most of the UK (Northern Ireland excepted - where all sighthounds must be muzzled in public). It’s so easy, because it’s what they’re used to!

Your newly-adopted ex-racing greyhound is an unknown quantity to you. You need to take precautions for many months before you know whether you have one of the lazy ones who couldn’t be bothered to chase anything, or one whose switch can be flipped in a second, triggering a chase that no dog or cat can escape.

The owner of the greyhounds in one of the instances I mentioned above had only had her two dogs for a couple of weeks. She had NO idea how dangerous they were, singly, and together. The adoption agency had not told her anything about the dangers, only that these were gentle pets. This nonsensical approach caused the horrible incident where the new elderly owner watched - screaming helplessly -  while her two new dogs attempted to pull the small dog apart.

She was traumatised by the event, paid the victim dog owner’s vet bills, and returned the dogs immediately to the adoption agency.

Unnecessary suffering

These horrors were totally unnecessary!

 

  • If the adoption people had faced the truth and told it to the new owners;

  •   If the new owners had had the sense they were born with and took steps to take the firing pin out of their dangerous weapons;

  • If an inexperienced elderly lady had not taken on two large dogs trained to kill;

  • And if owners of small dogs were aware of the danger;

 

all this may not have happened.

 

Small-dog owners need to take care

Cricket leaping.jpg

My smallest dog is fluffy and fast. So whenever I see ex-racing greyhounds on my travels, Coco Poodle is either close to my feet on lead, or I pick him up, to remove the instinctive visual chase response from the hounds.

And before you all sharpen your quills and dip them into poison ink, I declare that I have a sighthound too. She was never raced, but her chasing instincts are strong. See the power in her leap! But yes, she does sleep most of the time!

More commonsense tips to be found in this free 8-lesson email course to get you started with your dog

     

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Well that was a great week of dog training!

Brilliant Family Dog’s Choice Training is the quickest way to build a rewarding relationship with your dog | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #dogbehavior, #dogimpulsecontrol | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

The 5 Day Workshop was roundly acclaimed a great success! People got results that astonished them. Things they’d been struggling with for months or years were resolved in just five intensive days. 

I love celebrating my students’ successes, so while my team and I are still working on the aftermath of the Workshop and welcoming new students into the two courses recommended,

From Wild Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog

and

From Challenging Dog to Brilliant Family Dog

… I thought I’d let the Workshoppers speak for themselves:

 

Thank you for caring, it is so genuine. I am looking forward to this course!

My 14 week old puppy loved this! He couldn’t take his eyes off me, plus he sat after every treat without being told.

Did two sessions already and his recalls outside improved. This is going to be a fabulous week!! Thank you so much!

Thanks for your kind approach; it’s so much nicer than harsh words or worse!

Thank you for making the course and emails so easy to follow!

So Meg (the world's most anxious Border Collie who we've only had for a few weeks), has been playing - yes real playing with tail wagging, playbows, and coming back for more! She's now exhausted and flat out after all the playing - looking very relaxed. I'm a convert.

You are so amazing. I’m so enjoying this training video - hugs from me and Rory

He's improved so much and isn't as reactive when out.

You put the tools in front of us and give us the confidence to experiment! I so appreciate your clarity!

Though I teach others and we do this practice every day with my own dogs, we are loving and benefiting from the group experience. Thank you so much for this, this is my first course like this. The course so far is great, even for a training professional!

She is much better on the lead since playing the focus game yeah

This is really revolutionary! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and by that helping a huge number of people be their best version of pet companion.

This course really works and not just for a week. I haven't used any verbal cues or hand signals while playing the game. Looking forward to tomorrow morning when we do the next unit.

It usually takes at least two calls to get him in reluctantly from the garden. Today after the focus game, adding the sit cue, I called him, he came racing in on first call and sat in front of me! It’s only day 4 …

You’re a godsend.

Molly has always been very responsive to training (she's a collie/springer cross) but OMG! What an eye-opener and what fun to actually see her thinking and working out what I want her to do! It's so different but she's so engaged with me - I think she’s really enjoying it. It's amazing!! I feel tickled pink!

So proud of how my little dog is progressing, thanks to what we are learning from Beverley, would never have thought it possible, but we’re steadily getting there!

Fantastic information delivered in a very easy to understand manner. I always pick up a great tip from you - Thanks!

It all makes so much sense. And we are seeing such changes in both dogs.

Just wanted to say thank you for the 5 day workshop, we have seen a really big difference in Maisie, she is a lot more calm and much more focused on her walks which means no pulling on the lead and she also seems much more content.

Thank you so much for the workshop. It's has been incredibly helpful and great fun and has finally tired her out!!!

Thank you so much. Your 5 day Workshop has been most enlightening, I have always taught my dogs using a soft voice and a gentle touch, but I must say your method this week has been an eye-opener, letting the dog work out what is required! Fantastic idea.

This week has been thoroughly enjoyable for both myself and Maisey,

Isn't it fabulous how focused they are on you?

It’s amazing how quickly they work it out x

We have learned so much from Beverley Courtney's Essential Skills for a Brilliant Family Dog and the Growly but Brilliant Family Dog books.

Love this training. Bonnie and I have learned so much in such a short time. Thank you Beverley.

Saw so much progress with the 5 day Workshop. Dogs and us calmer and enjoying each other so much more. Stress levels right down.

I love love LOVE that as a beginner it’s about just doing the exercises and letting the magic happen, whether with my creativity or my dog’s responses! THIS I can do!!

 A big thank you Beverley and team for a fantastic 5 day Workshop.

 

Lucy Walker closer.png

Basking in praise?

No, I’m not! I’m too busy helping the new students find everything they need and supplying them with their course notebooks …

 

But I can allow myself a pat on the back for helping more dogs round the world have a happier life with their devoted owners, and be better understood.

I’ll drink to that!

 

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

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The Brilliant Family Dog Workshop’s nearly here!

Free 5 Day online Workshop to show you a new - force-free - way to change your dog or new puppy and enjoy life | FREE 5 DAY ONLINE WORKSHOP | #dogtraining, #puppytraining, #newpuppy, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Great anticipation here, for this summer’s main event!

People are joining in droves, so I’m looking forward to great activity in the new private forum which will be opened in a few days.

And we learn so much from each other - once we’ve chosen the right place to be to learn! As you’ll know, any place I am is a place that focusses on force-free training. On training that reaches the dog’s heart and mind, and does not rely on fear or intimidation to have any effect.

As you’ll have seen from my recent post I am utterly against the use of aversive gear to work with our friend, the dog.

Join our free 5 Day Workshop and find a new dog-friendly way to get fast results with your dog or your brand-new puppy Description Free 5 Day online Workshop to show you a new - force-free - way to change your dog or new puppy and enjoy life | FREE 5 DAY ONLINE WORKSHOP | #dogtraining, #puppytraining, #newpuppy, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

This means that we can achieve exactly what we want without nasty collars, no spikes, no electric shocks, no nasty smells.

We wouldn’t dream of treating our children this way!

And yet people have no qualms about abusing their dogs, even the cleverest of whom is only on a par with a three-year-old child. The mind boggles at the double standards their minds have to hold.

But how do we actually get results without using these so-called “training aids”?

To start with, come and join the hundreds already impatiently waiting for kick-off! Our free 5 Day Workshop to a Brilliant Family Dog starts next Monday. Just click that link and you’ll be there!

Once you’ve registered, take a leisurely stroll round this site and have a look at more of the articles. You can use the SEARCH button to find just what you want. With almost 130 posts, it’s a great resource, and it’s f-r-e-e!

Why do I give so much away? Well, I want to reach as many dogs as possible and change their experience during their short life with us.

And you know what? It changes their owners too, so that means the good stuff will keep spreading.

Results!

I’m really looking forward to showing you just how to achieve the results you want with your dog, without listening to anyone who says you can only succeed through nastiness.

Choice Training is the fastest way to change your dog - from being a source of conflict and irritation - to becoming your companion and the Brilliant Family Dog you deserve.

Once you’ve worked your way through this 5 Day Workshop, you’ll have a puppy who plays nicely with the children, never nipping hands or grabbing clothes! Isn’t this just what you imagined when you got your puppy?

And you’ll be making a great start on walking comfortably together without your arm being pulled out of its socket! Just imagine that …

Join our free 5 Day Workshop here!

Go and find out all the goodies you’ll be getting …

 

How to make your puppy brilliant!

Got a new puppy! Wonderful! Now find out how to make your pup the best ever using only the kindest methods | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #puppycare, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

When Helen started in my free 5 Day Workshop in January, Mocha was a typical 13-week-old puppy - full of the joys of spring, easily excited, and much-loved.

She’s a “Cockerpoo” - a combination of excitable Mini Poodle (take my and Coco Poodle’s word for the excitability quotient!) and busybusybusy Cocker Spaniel. This crossbreed can throw up a lot of challenges which are hard for the unsuspecting novice dog-owner to handle.

They did so well in the short Workshop that Helen went on to join my full program From Wild Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog, where she and Mocha went from strength to strength.

Instead of the ups and downs of puppyhood, the total misunderstandings and regrets that I read in my inbox regularly, Helen went on an almost linear path upwards and onwards!

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

  • She discovered that instead of saying NOOOO

  • she just had to ask Mocha to do something she truly understood and which had a strong reward history.

  • She discovered that rewards can be all sorts of things, not only food.

  • She discovered that asking was much more effective and enjoyable than telling.

  • She didn’t expect miracles of her pup, who’d only been on the planet a matter of weeks,

  • And she regaled us with stories of their successes together - far beyond what the average young puppy can achieve!

Just two weeks into the Wild Puppy Course …

Here’s a report from Helen in Week 2 of the Wild Puppy course. What thrilled me about this is how Helen had completely grasped the concepts I want puppy-owners to understand, thereby enabling her to use the same processes in other situations.

“A few days ago I got very despondent as I had to drag my pup out for a walk. She completely ignored the treats (sausage!) and then she dragged me home. After reading some unrelated stories and comments on this group, I decided I was being unreasonable (she's only a puppy of 15 weeks) and maybe was stressed/frightened by the experience (hence ignoring sausage).

Since then... 

1. I've mentally re-named walks as "sniffs", which allows me to relax and let her control the pace, direction and focus.

2. We're playing lots more in the garden instead - doesn't she know it's  freezing? The loose leash step and treat game is a favourite.

3. Someone's become a bit of a mat star ... Today's mat test was giving my Mum the mat and puppy. It worked without me - Woohoo!

4. We seem to have cracked the new Rules of Tugging, after a month of "wrong" rules!

5. Mocha "got" the Magic hand game straightaway to leave stuff that isn’t for her. I'm now making my friends try it too.

6. I let her off lead yesterday to play with another (older) puppy and got her attention by using her name 3 times - she abandoned her playmate each time and raced to see what I wanted. 

So proud of us!

Sorry to prattle on, but I wanted you all to know how much your support has helped my relationship with my beautifully amazing puppy.”

And here’s what she had to say when Mocha was 20 weeks old. Notice how she spent time building the foundations before expecting miracles.

You can have a puppy who is well-behaved beyond his years, but still fun! Find out how to make your pup the best ever using only the kindest methods | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #puppycare, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

“Today I am so very, very, very proud of my pup and all our hard work ... why? Because today I managed to loose leash walk somewhere that wasn't the back garden. This is HUGE!

Prior to this she's been so excited when out, she refused to eat treats and pulled like a train on the way back home. We've worked so hard in the garden and near the car over the last 6 weeks, that I thought we should try to go a little further. So, I grabbed the cheese and aimed to walk up the road for a few metres. She totally got it and we were walking nicely for 20 minutes and have walked about 0.5km! I nearly ran out of cheese!!!

I'm a very proud mum right now - she's been given a chew to celebrate…”

 

A stunning recall from this puppy!

But I think the outstanding moment for me was when Helen showed us this video, also in Week 2 of the course - with her 15-week-old puppy! This young puppy recalled instantly, on one call, and hurtled away from a bunch of people and friendly dogs back to her owner.

Can your 15-week-old puppy do that? Can your 15-month-old dog do that? Can you imagine having that level of recall?

Well … you can! Watch out for when we’ll be starting a new free 5 Day Workshop for your Brilliant Family Dog

When I asked Helen if I could use her video and quotes she replied:

 “Absolutely! Share away! I hope someone else can be helped as much as we were.”

This generosity is typical of the kind of person who’s attracted to the Wild Puppy Course. I’m very proud of all my students

Mocha the puppy demonstrates her stunning recall

 

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

How Lois perfected her lead-walking, fast

There's no need to be hauled about by your enthusiastic dog! Follow this proven step-by-step system and enjoy relaxed walks, your dog by your side | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #looseleashwalking | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Lois the Miniature Schnauzer was just one year old when she arrived in my free online Workshop in January with her owner Carol. She had some “growly issues” and Carol was hoping to improve life with her beloved puppy with some new skills.

They so enjoyed the Workshop that Carol went on to join an online course of mine to continue her progress. And progress she did!

Here’s what she posted just five weeks after starting the course:

Gold Star Day!

This afternoon Lois and I have been to the pub!! .... yes the PUB, on our OWN!! 

We only stayed 15 minutes, but it’s a start and I shall now do it once or twice each week with her.

She was impeccably behaved, straight down on her mat, where she stayed, chomping away on her rice bone - didn’t bother anyone.

I have never been in a pub by myself, always felt too uncomfortable. It’s great fun - she’s taking me places I would never have dreamt of going to alone, and I’ll continue with the short visits for as long as it takes. Short bus trip soon I think as well.

Lois Russell on mat on pub visit.pngThere's no need to be hauled about by your enthusiastic dog! Follow this proven step-by-step system and enjoy relaxed walks, your dog by your side | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #looseleashwalking | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Here’s a picture of Lois minding her own business on her mat on her very first pub visit! Matwork is an important part of the training I give, and this is one of the reasons it’s so popular.

I was delighted to see that Lois was now opening up a new world for Carol, one where she gave her owner the confidence to try new things, visit new places, enjoy companionship, safe in the knowledge that her dog could handle herself perfectly and not cause her embarrassment or anxiety.

Then Carol was back a couple of weeks later with this outstanding video of Loose Lead Walking in her town. She said, “Can’t believe the change in my dog - so proud of her!”

Notice the soft, loopy lead, and Lois’s frequent check-ins with Carol, complete with a sit when she pauses. Nicely done Lois!

One of the by-products of this improved relationship between owner and dog is that Lois’s reactivity is much diminished:

Our growly girl Lois is MUCH less growly now!! My theory is her impulse control is tons better, and also her focusing (on me) when we are out, plus we are BOTH much more relaxed.

Aaah!

And the icing on the cake for me was this post from Carol after she completed the course and thanked all her new friends in the group:

We’ve completely finished the course, and Lois is our neighbourhood star as her loose lead walking is absolutely spot on now.

Thank you Beverley and everyone for your continued support.

 

Want to know how Carol achieved all this, so quickly? Look out for our next free Live Workshop when we start on something exciting!

If you’re already a subscriber at Brilliant Family Dog, you’ll be hearing about it all direct. And if you’re not yet receiving my informative and quirky emails - well, you know what I think about that … you should come hang out with us!

 
 

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

THIS E-COURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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